Rube style secondary

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Well-Known Member
Dec 3, 2004
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West coast of FL
If one did not have a secondary and could not get one in time, and assuming proper sanitation was used, and proper technique was employeed to prevent splashing.

Could one siphon the primary to the bottling bucket, clean and resanitize the primary and then put the beer back into the primary to serve as a secondary? I realize it would be a lot of work but the idea occured to me and I was curious if anyone had ever tried this. Finding ways to improvise is a bit of a hobby.
Sure. That would work. In the long run (or medium or short ;) ) you'll want to just get yerself another fermentor for a secondary. That way you can get another beer going in the primary.

Be careful of aeration and sanitation.

Yes. Mr. Beer users who learn a little more about home brewing than the Mr. Beer booklet offers often employ that technique in order to enjoy the benefits of secondary fermentation without needing a second fermenting vessel.
That would work and I did that years ago in the beginning..... just keep everything sanitized, your twice as likely to have problems.......
I am new to brewing. I took a class at Morebeer and I was the only one who showed up which was a good learning experience. I took my 15 gal kettle home and decided I was going to see how long it would take to boil 6 gals of tap water @ 60 degrees. Well I soon found out that my turkey fryer burner ( which is 4") was not enough power. An hour to get to 150* and over 2 hrs to get a boil that would barely maintain. I live in a VERY windy area and am looking for the best burner. I've been looking at the Blichmann and hear great things about it, but how is it in a windy area. Tried to look it up but not a lot of info out there in regards to wind.
That would work, but a secondary isn't necessary unless you are adding fruit, dryhopping or some other post fermentation process. You can just leave it in the primary.
Usually for a 5 gal batch you primary in a 6.5 gal fermenter and then secondary in a 5 gal fermenter.

The point of this is to have enough head space for an active fermentation in the primary without (hopefully) having any blow off. The smaller secondary is important because at that point in fermentation the beer will not produce enough CO2 to clear the head space of a 6.5 gal fermenter.

I have never tried this, but with your proposed method you may end up with some oxidation issues.

Just my two cents...
If you can rack to a bottling bucket without oxidizing it, you can rack it back into the primary without oxidizing as well.

Your method will work, but don't bother and just leave it in the primary until you are ready to bottle.

My point in mentioning that was that the oxidation won't come from proper racking techniques, but rather the inability to re-clear the head space in the fermenter with CO2 once you've sealed it up again. Secondary fermentation will not produce enough gas to purge the bucket/carboy of atmospheric air. Oxidation in this instance is highly possible if using a primary sized vessel as a "secondary."
Oxidation in this instance is highly possible if using a primary sized vessel as a "secondary."

Not in my experience. I've done plenty of 5 gallon secondaries in 6.5 gallon carboys with no oxidation. The reason is there is enough off-gassing of CO2 by yeast, even when visible fermentation has subsided. Enough to provide a layer against oxidation, it seems.

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